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After spending lots of time with your beloved feline, you may have noticed that she sometimes does a unique, slow blinking with her eyes that is noticeably different from regular blinking. Cats may occasionally blink quickly for the same reasons humans do—to keep their eyes from drying out and to protect them from debris like dust. However, the slow blink is entirely different. The slow blink is when your cat looks at you and intentionally closes and opens her eyes. A true slow blink only happens when your cat is comfortable and relaxed.
Revealing her true feelings
By nature, cats tend to hide their vulnerability to avoid being seen as easy prey. The slow blink involves relaxed eyes and shows that your cat isn’t worried. She’s happy and relaxed enough to intentionally close her eyes and be vulnerable. This type of blink also communicates that your cat feels safe and secure.
Cat behavior expert Jackson Galaxy calls it the “I love you blink,” suggesting that the slow blink is a way for your cat to express her love. He recommends reciprocating the message by mimicking your cat’s slow blink. Cats might slow blink at the people they love as well as other cat friends. The slow blink is one way to know your cat fully accepts and trusts you—a message every cat parent hopes to receive from their kitty!
How to get your cat to slow blink
First, don’t overwhelm your kitty and don’t stare. Direct eye contact or a hard, prolonged stare is perceived by cats as confrontational and isn’t good kitty etiquette. Maintain a peaceful atmosphere and allow your cat to come to you on her own time. Keep your eyes relaxed and offer a slow blink to see if she reciprocates. If your cat is new and shy, give her time to acclimate and relax into this new life before expecting her to show vulnerability.
Taking it to the next level
After a cat has given you the slow blink, see if she wants to take your relationship to the next level with physical affection. Keep in mind that the slow blink isn’t a direct invitation to bombard her with petting. Remain calm and patient and slowly extend a finger for kitty to sniff. If she backs away from your hand, she is not interested in any further interaction. But if she rubs her face against your hand or lowers her head for pets then she’s open to receiving some physical touch.